Someone said that encouragement is simply reminding a person of the "shoulders" he's standing1 on, the heritage he's been given. That's what happened when a young man, the son of a star baseball player, was drafted by one of the minor2 league teams. As hard as he tried, his first season was disappointing, and by midseason he expected to be released any day. The coaches were bewildered by his failure because he possessed3 all the characteristics of a superb athlete, but he couldn't seem to incorporate those advantages into a coordinated4 effort. He seemed to have become disconnected from his potential.
His future seemed darkest one day when he had already struck out his first time at bat. Then he stepped up to the batter's box again and quickly ran up two strikes. The catcher called a time-out and trotted5 to the pitcher's mound6 for a conference. While they were busy the umpire, standing behind the plate, spoke7 casually8 to the boy.
Then play resumed, the next pitch was thrown - and the young man knocked it out of the park. That was the turning point. From then on, he played the game with a new confidence and power that quickly drew the attention of the parent team, and he was called up to the majors.
On the day he was leaving for the city, one of his coaches asked him what had caused such a turnaround. The young man replied it was the encouraging remark the umpire had made that day when his baseball career had seemed doomed9.
"He told me I reminded him of all the times he had stood behind my dad in the batter's box," the boy explained. "He said I was holding the bat just the way Dad had held it. And he told me, 'I can see his genes10 in you; you have your father's arms.' After that, whenever I swung the bat, I just imagined I was using Dad's arms instead of my own."